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Published on 16 November 2020

Interview Crif - Miguel Bronfman, AMIA's legal representative, explain the legal case surrounding the 1994 bombing

Wednesday November 4th began the pleas of AMIA terror attack trial, wich caused the death of 85 persons. The advocates of representatives of the Jewish Mutual Association of Argentina (AMIA) presented their plea. To better understand the stakes of this trial, we asked Miguel Bronfman, AMIA´s legal representative and attorney in the criminal proceeding related to the bombing case for more than 22 years.

The case against Carlos Telleldín has been one of Miguel Bronfman's main priorities for a long time.

Terror attack in Amia Jewish Center (Buenos Aires, Argentina) happened more than 26 years ago, but the Jewish community is still waiting for Justice. Nobody is in jail.

This is surely one of the last chances of getting someone who collaborated in the AMIA bombing convicted of the murder of 85 people, more than 26 years later.

 

Crif - Who is Calors Telleldín, accused of having participated in the attack on AMIA? What was his supposed role in the bombing attack ?

Miguel Bronfman - Carlos Telleldín is the last known person to have been in possession of the van, a Renault Trafic, that was used as a car-bomb in the July 18, 1994 attack. We have accused him - as did the victims 'relatives' attorney and as we expect the Prosecutor to do as well next week - of preparing and handling the van just a few days before the attack, with sufficient knowledge that it was most probably going to be used to cause an explosion, and that that explosion would most probably cause many deaths.

Throughout more than 26 years he has repeatedly failed to explain to whom did he give the van, having lied once and again to the investigators. We all believe he somehow took part in the criminal plan, and the fact that he is not willing to tell the truth about what he did with the car that he prepared and handled to someone else only a few days ahead of the bombing, shows that he knew what the car was going to be used for. The law does not require that he had specific knowledge about an attack against a specific target, but is enough to be considered a participant in the crime that he was able to figure out that he was contributing, by providing this specific car, to a serious crime. There's plenty of evidence regarding this. Our closing statement, in which we presented all the evidence before the court, lasted three hours.

Also, Carlos Telleldín was not just a simple used-cars sellers. He was already a consummated criminal with lots of experience in serious crimes, and with deep contacts with corrupted police high-rank officials that in a sort of partnership, let him work at large. He himself had worked as an intelligence officer for a short period of time in the Province of Córdoba's Police department. And finally, his father, Raúl Pedro Telleldín, had been the Head of that intelligence division during the military dictatorship (1976-1983), and was a very well known repressor. He was accused of serious crimes against humanity in that period. He couldn't be tried only because he got killed in a car accident in 1983 when democracy returned, but all the people that worked for and with him, were tried and sentenced for life for those crimes (torture, illegal detention, murder). He was also known to be a ferocious anti-semite and a collector of nazi memorabilia.  

 

Crif - Twenty-six years later, what are the stakes of this trial ?

Carlos Telleldín was first tried in 2001-2004, but the court then acquitted him, because a mistrial during the preliminary investigation. We appealed that decision even to the Supreme Court, which in 2009 ruled that there was still enough valid evidence in order to try Carlos Telleldín again. Despite the passage of time, we are confident that this time the Court will consider the evidence we presented good enough to be convinced of his guiltiness. The fact that while we were presenting our closing arguments there were almost 16 000 people following it live through youtube, shows that this trial is still a matter of interest to a lot of people.

 

Crif - How is this trial a major event for the Argentinian Jewish community?

We know Carlos Telleldín was not the main perpetrator of the attack, which was planned and executed by Iran and Hezbollah, according to the investigation, but we are certain that he knowingly contributed to it. Even though Justice will not be fully served with his conviction, it is important, for the victims, their relatives, AMIA and society in general, to see that someone who took part in the murder of 85 people is finally sentenced.  And this, if he is convicted, will be the sole achievement of AMIA's and the relatives' perseverance and firm demand of Justice.

Next Wednesday, November 18, will be the turn for Federal Prosecutor Roberto Salum to present his closing argument, and we are also expecting that he requests the same. The following Wednesday 25, the defense will have the opportunity to present their arguments. After that, there might be a second round of presentations for every party, only to answer and refute specific and technical matters. This second round, if it takes place at all, of course is much shorter than the first one. After that, the Court should pronounce its verdict, which we should then expect by the end of this year or the beginning of 2021.  

 

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